From David Aldridge: I learned about hard work, sacrifice and the importance of small gestures

David Aldridge, right, interviews former president Barack Obama
Name: David Aldridge
College Newspaper: The Eagle, American University, 1983-87
Where I Am Now: Reporter, Turner Sports

Working at The Eagle at American University in Washington, D.C.–back before many of y’all were zygotes–changed my life, and all to the good. I walked in the newsroom the second day I was on campus and, other than showering and drinking elsewhere, basically didn’t leave for four years. I became a reporter there. I became an editor there. I became Editor in Chief there. And throughout those four years, I learned so much–about reporting, certainly, but much more importantly, about working hard, and well. I learned how to manage different people with different sensibilities. I learned about sacrifice and how small gestures can go a long way. And I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I can’t stress strongly enough how important an independent student media is to try and hold administrators accountable, to shed light on communities that are underrepresented and whose voices are unheard, and to advocate on behalf of students in an era where resources are scarce and the cost of higher education increases, seemingly exponentially, every year. #SaveStudentNewsrooms

From Carolyn Roque: Journalism and the truth matter so much right now.

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Name: Carolyn Roque

Where I am now: FSView & Florida Flambeau/Staff Writer (Tallahassee, Florida)

My interest in journalism began in high school after I took a journalism class and then went on to join the yearbook staff for the next 3 years. Yearbook was a huge part of my life and I learned things that helped me in college at every level. The work and friendships I made shaped who I am, and those memories are still clear as day in my head (like watching Shattered Glass to learn about ethics, and learning to write movie reviews after watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).

When I began college, I pretty much stepped away from journalism and went on to study creative writing. As a junior in college, I’ve found my way back to journalism and it feels like home (cue dramatic music).

I am thankful to the FSView for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their wonderful team. I am proud to write for this award-winning paper that so many put so much time and effort into every week and every day.

Without student newsrooms, I don’t know how prepared I would be for this career that I hope to pursue. Without student newsrooms, I wouldn’t of met the pretty incredible people that I know today. Without student newsrooms, I would have nowhere to place the curiosity and restlessness that us journalists live with.

Journalism and truth matters so much right now. We need to keep student newsrooms alive because these students are the ones that will go on to become the journalists that uncover truths that need to be told, or tell stories of those who don’t have a voice, or even bring people to justice. I’m talking like the staff of The Washington Post, uncovering years of Roy Moore’s sexual harassment history. The New York Times covering the Russian interference in the 2016 election. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s coverage of Hollywood’s sexual predators. & So. Much. More.

Journalism matters and it all starts in student newsrooms. Pick up a paper, follow some socials, and support, support, support. #SaveStudentNewsrooms

From Roy LeBlanc: Student newsrooms prepare tomorrow’s newsroom leaders

Name: Roy LeBlanc
Where I Am Now: Tampa Bay Times, Assistant Metro Editor
As a recruiter of tomorrow’s newsroom leaders, I can say without hesitation that the young journalists who come to me most prepared are the ones who have left their blood, sweat and tears on a student newsroom keyboard (or ancient couch, in some cases). There’s nothing quite like juggling that commitment to your colleagues and readers with a full-time course load – and in some cases another job – to figure out whether you have the passion to do this. It’s trial by fire. If flinging yourself into that newsroom again after a full course load is the best part of your day, you might be a journalist, whether you like it or not. We just can’t help ourselves. And there’s no better way to scrape down to your bare DNA and see if a journalist lives there.

From Jessica DaSilva: The Alligator made me a better legal journalist and lawyer

Name: Jessica DaSilva

College publication: The Independent Florida Alligator (Gainesville, Florida)

Where I am now: National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Resource Counsel

The Alligator made me a better legal journalist and continues to make be a better lawyer.

I spent three years working at The Independent Florida Alligator, starting as a stringer and eventually becoming editor-in-chief. Although I couldn’t seem to crack into the industry in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, my writing and research abilities are what got me into law school and succeed as a legal writer.

Eventually, I made my way back into journalism as a senior legal editor for Bloomberg Law, where I wrote about the criminal justice system for a legal audience.

My experience at The Alligator is why I was able to hit the ground running at Bloomberg and successfully cover U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments, political movements affecting criminal justice, and delve deeper into the minds of policy experts to provide analysis unparalleled by other organizations covering the same issues.

This depth of knowledge and ability follow my curiosity to find answers is what led me into advocacy. I use these skills to support the criminal justice reform movement in a way that all people can understand the importance for change.

From Alan Hovorka: ‘Without their independence guaranteed, our democracy will be worse off.’

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Name: Alan Hovorka

College publication: The Ball State Daily News (Muncie, Indiana)

Where I am now: Watchdog Reporter at Stevens Point Journal/USA TODAY Network-Wisconsin

Independent student newsrooms act not only as a voice for students but also as a critical proving ground for this country’s next generation of journalists. I know because I was one.

My time as a member of The Ball State Daily News set me up for the career I have now. It gave me invaluable experience in dealing with public officials who were recalcitrant in upholding their duties to provide public information. One of the times this fight manifested was when the university fired a widely popular president and refused to disclose the reason for his firing even though they gave him a hefty severance package.

Student newsrooms exist, in part, to allow young journalists to learn and make mistakes and to get good at demanding and asserting the public’s right to know. Without their independence guaranteed, our democracy will be worse off.

From Adam Lichtenstein: I wouldn’t be who I am today without The Alligator

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Name: Adam Lichtenstein

College publication: The Independent Florida Alligator (Gainesville, Florida)

Where I am now: Sports Reporter at Palm Beach Post

I didn’t get to college dreaming of being a journalist. I wanted to work for a sports team in some capacity. I had worked on my high school newspaper, mostly to bolster my college resume. But after half a semester at the University of Florida, I realized I missed writing and that I really didn’t have a career path in sports. So I figured I’d give journalism a shot.

After a couple semesters in the journalism program, I basically idolized The Alligator. The writers, particularly in the sports section, were insightful, witty and, most of all, really good. After a few tries, I was hired onto the staff. I spent my last two years of college working for the paper, and they were an amazing two years. I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I certainly wouldn’t be the journalist I am, without The Alligator.

From Kevin Huynh: My student newsroom gave me amazing opportunities

Name: Kevin Huynh

College publication: Sparks Magazine UF

Where I am now: Fashion Assistant at the Wall Street Journal/WSJ Magazine

My time as the Style Director at Sparks Magazine, a role I pitched and created for myself, really allowed me to both see my creativity into fruition but also gave me an amazing opportunity to work with others as well. The student newsroom is an environment that allows individuals to truly express themselves and gain invaluable experiences with their peers. Those who are willing to put in the work at a student magazine/newsroom are the same people who make strides in their career goals. I was able to use my previous internship experience and position at Sparks magazine to get my foot in the door of the fashion industry. First as an freelancer with the Senior Editor-at-Large of Glamour, then as the Accessories Assistant at Interview and finally as the Fashion Assistant at the Wall Street Journal.